Adopting a cat with special needs with Kindness, Patience & Understanding

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pallavi Bhattacharya
There is little awareness on disabilities in India. Needless to say we are even more ill informed about animal related disabilities. With a little knowledge and oodles of care, you can give a disabled animalThere is little awareness on disabilities in India. Needless to say we are even more ill informed about animal related disabilities. With a little knowledge and oodles of care, you can give a disabled animala new lease of life.
 
Taking care of a disabled pet is expensive and demands patience and time. This is the reason that people don’t want an added burden. There are many disabled pets yearning for a loving home, but the lack of knowledge of caring for them proves to be a hindrance. It’s possible to give a disabled cat a wonderful life, provided you know how to care for them.
 
Cat with amputation and/or locomotion issues
Just like a human who is an amputee or faces challenges while walking needs an appendage like a stick, crutch, or wheelchair, animals with similar issues also need disable friendly equipment to help them move around.

  • Animal-friendly wheelchairs (especially designed as per their disability) and prosthetic limbs are two options that can help them move around. You could also take your disabled cat in a cart for alittle stroll.
  •  Arrange the room/house in such a manner that when without appendages, your pet doesn’t find it difficult to maneuver and reach his favourite spots.
  •  You can make a ramp so that reaching their favourite spot becomes easier.
  •  Place cushions, rugs, and mats in the area around the perch, so that just in case your pet skids or falls, he doesn’t hurt himself severely.
  •  Make sure that access to the litter box is the easiest.

Wearing appendages doesn’t have to debar your pet from the freedom of moving and climbing up and down. Stools and boxes may be innovatively arranged as steps to help them reach their favourite perch. A cat who has undergone limb loss or has mobility issues, may have problems in grooming himself. Lend a helping hand in cleaning your pet by wiping him gently. If your cat is an amputee, then his body weight will create more pressure on the existing limbs. That’s why you need to prevent him from getting obese. More the weight, more the pressure. Physiotherapy may be needed to strengthen the muscles of the cat’s limbs, so that hegets sturdier.
 
Visually challenged cats 
Just like human beings, some cats may be born blind or may later lose their eyesight because of illness, injury, or old age.

  •  Essential items like food, water, bedding and litter trays need to be kept at the same place.
  •  Every animal, whether able or disabled, deserves an enjoyable play time. Select toys which crinkle or squeak to make play time more fun.
  •  Try and keep the rooms clutter free to avoid your pet tripping or hurting himself.
  •  A blind cat has a heightened sense of hearing. Loud noises or shouting may intimidate and scare the blind cat. Don’t slam doors or windows. Don’t speak to them loudly.

Visually challenged cats should live indoors or in a securely protected area for their safety and well being. Don’t let blindness become a hindrance in their fun. Play with them, gently groom them, and make sure you don’t startle them at any point.
 
Hearing impaired cats
Some cats are born with hearing disabilities. Others lose hearing power because of illness, accidents, or old age. Cats with hearing impairment make use of the senses of sight, smell, touch and vibration to gauge what is going on.
Here’s how you can find out early signs of deafness –

  •  Doesn’t respond when you talk
  •  Disorientation
  •  Not being startled by loud noises
  •  Constantly shaking his head
  •  Clawing his ears
  •  Louder meows

Your cat might have partial deafness or complete deafness. If deafness is partial, your cat is likely to pick up the vibrations. He would respond to you by clapping your hand, be alert by your presence or when you walk heavily. To wake up a hearing impaired cat in slumber, tenderly pat not on the cat, but around him. Try keeping them indoors and the outdoor sessions are supervised by you. Though it may be difficult for you to believe, cats can learn to understand human sign language and also appropriately respond to it. They may comprehend all basic cat commands like – sit, stand, sleep, eat, run, stop, play, etc. in sign language. They also like to communicate with the eyes of the pet parent. They are likely to respond very positively when you communicate with your cat through slow blinks. He may talk back to the eyes and interpret the blinks as, “I love you.”Physically challenged cats need your love and kindness. It takes patience and understanding to raise a disabled cat. When properly cared a physically challenged cat may go on to have a long and enjoyable life. Your act of kindness of adopting a cat with special needs may inspire others to do the same. So go on and give these little bundles of joy a new lease of life.